Do You Like Modern Art?

spengler-page-logo.gif The always provocative “Spengler” at Asia Times has a very strong essay, “Why You Pretend to Like Modern Art

The writer’s muscular prose style, erudition, and anonymity have made a sport of guessing his identity. (Nominees range from V. S. Naipaul and Henry Kissinger through John Farrenkopf, Dmitry Shlapentokh, Nick Land, and David P. Goldman, to Mark Steyn and Salman Rushdie.)

To whet your appetite, here are a few morsels from his latest opinion:

“You pretend to like modern art because you want to be creative. In fact, you are not creative, not in the least…You have your heart set on being creative because you want to worship yourself, your children, or some pretentious impostor, rather than the god of the Bible. Absence of faith has not made you more rational. On the contrary, it has made you ridiculous in your adoration of clownish little deities, of whom the silliest is yourself. G K Chesterton said that if you stop believing in God, you will believe in anything.”

Spengler’s use of the word “creative” seems to be as a synonym for “irreplaceable.”

“Bach inscribed each of his works with the motto, “Glory belongs only to God,” and insisted (wrongly) that anyone who worked as hard as he did could have achieved results just as good. He was content to be a diligent craftsman in the service of God, and did not seek to be a genius; he simply was one. That is the starting point of the man of faith. One does not set out to be a genius, but rather to be of service; extraordinary gifts are responsibility to be borne with humility. The search for genius began when the service of God no longer interested the artists and scientists.”

“Because the world conspires to flatter the wealthy, rich people are more prone to think of themselves as little gods than ordinary people, and far more susceptible to the cult of creativity in art.”

“If God is the Creator, then imitation of God is emulation of creation. But that is not quite true, for the Judeo-Christian god is more than a creator; God is a creator who loves his creatures. In the world of faith there is quite a different way to be indispensable, and that is through acts of kindness and service.”

Check out the whole essay here.

One Comment

  • I’m not sure that Spengler is defining “creative” as I would, either. I’m reminded of an interesting conversation I had with a former professor when I was back at my Alma Mater to speak about Creativity. He believed that there are very few people who are creative – in this case defining the word “creative” as a synonym for “genius”. As such, he would only apply “creative” to the likes of Bach, Mozart, or Picasso.

    I reject that notion, however. If we are made in the image of the Creator – and creativity is a part of the Creator’s being (indeed, as J.I. Packer points out – it’s the first thing we learn about God in Genesis 1:1) – then creativity is a part of who we are. I would liken it to intelligence. Because we are not an Albert Einstein does not mean we are not intelligent.

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